Harukaze / 春風

Harukaze / 春風: “spring breeze”

haru / 春
“Spring” (season)
kaze / 風
“wind”

“Harukaze”: one of the songs that reminds me of why I’m not ashamed of liking Oku Hanako (given that she is a really big outlier in my music library). It’s beautiful, both musically and lyrically.

The prominent instrument heard in the song is an acoustic guitar, giving it a bit of a folksy feel (although not to the extent of Hane / 羽). Of course, this is Oku Hanako, so the piano still plays an important role in the arrangement. As for her singing, it’s just what I expect from Oku Hanako, and I say that in a good way. Some might find it a little “nasally”, but I don’t, and I think it suits the song quite well. Her singing here reminds me of her style in her newest album; rather, I should say that her style in the new album reminds me of that in this song.

The lyrics tell of a girl riding her bike around her new town, thinking of the boy a friend she left behind when she moved. Too bad I can’t fully appreciate the lyrics due to my lack of knowledge of Japanese, but reading the translation, however tough it may be, gives me a sense that it’s simple, yet there’s a lot packed into it (no pun intended).


Oku Hanako 春風 with English Lines by mokade3

My eyes roll back at the bridge as I’m reminded of why I like this lady, and by the time the song ends, I’m left there, awestruck. It puts a smile on my face every time.

She doesn’t really do these kinds of songs anymore. Harukaze is on her first album as a major artist, Yasashii Hana no Saku Basho / やさしい花の咲く場所, released in 2006, and if you compare this with her other works, there’s an apparent contrast between the songs from the start of her career with her more recent works. I find the songs of this era are somewhat warmer, simpler, and more personal. It’s like she lost something along the way; perhaps it’s innocence or other child-like qualities, or maybe it’s just that she started experimenting and it has taken her to where she is now. Don’t get me wrong, I think her later works are great, too, but there’s something in her early works that I miss in her later works. Oh well, we’ll always have songs like Harukaze to reminisce with.


Just to add a review that’s out on the Web, here’s a review by Megumi from Lost Wing:

I actually really like the feel of this next track. It has a very folky, laid-back atmosphere from the soft acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment (although the piano is rather quite, at most of what you hear on the track is the guitar). The melody is simple enough, and although Hanako’s voice is still a bit irritating at times, her delivery on this track is really quite nice. It’s simplistic and charming at the same time. Her phrasing is still very good and she does this song enough justice that I really quite like the track.
She still has some slight pitch problems throughout the track, and still some practice in regards to that. However, the instrumentation is really quite pretty; I especially love the piano solo in the bridge and ending sections of the track.


Lyrics

Roumaji

Harukaze wo shiroi jitensha de boku wa oikoshite yuku
Sorairo no shatsu wo hirugaeshi hajimete no machi ni maiorita

Hanarebanare ni naru no wa iyada to nakinagara
Shi ga mi tsuite kita kimi no ude
Hirari to sakura ga chiru ano hi no futari mo chitte yuku

Senro-zoi yurete iru usu koushoku
Sabitsuita kanban no narabu shouten-gai
Fumikiri no mukou-gawa kimi no sugata ga mieta youna ki ga shite
Pedaru wo fumu iru hazu mo naku kaze ga tourisugita
Hikari yure teru atatakana hi de

Masshiroi kabe wo kurinuita mado kara nishibi ga sashite
Danbouru-ippai no heya wo orenji iro ni somete yuku

Kakugo toka kodoku toka sukoshi no kibou toka
Tsumekonda hako ni mo tare kake
Suzume ga naku koe mo shirazu ni terebi no hikari to boku no kage

Minarenai kono michi wo hashitte iku
Jitensha mo kutsu himo mo machi-shoku ni naru made
Sakamichi no tochuu boku wo yobu kimi no koe kikoeta youna ki ga shite
Furimuite miru iru hazu mo naku kaze ga tourisugita
Usumurasaki no kaze ga tourisugita

Subete no mono wa kawari yuku monona ndarou
Kono machi mo kono yume mo kimi ga ita toki mo
Furikaeru koto ga dekiru no wa
Sono basho wo tourisugitakara aruki dashite irukara

Uruwashiki shunpuu ga machi wo touri nuke
Senro-zoi yurete iru hazakura namiki
Soshite boku wa kyou mo mata furimukinagara
Nagai saka no tochuu de kimi wo omoidasu nasu-sude mo naku ieji wo aruku
Yuugure-iro no kaze ga tourisugita

From Zing.vn with some corrections by tPenguinLTG

Japanese

春風を白い自転車で 僕は追い越して行く
空色のシャツを翻し 初めての街に舞い降りた

離れ離れになるのは嫌だと泣きながら
しがみ付いて来た君の腕
ヒ・ラ・リ と桜が散る あの日の二人も散って行く

線路沿い揺れている薄紅色
錆び付いた看板の並ぶ商店街
踏み切りの向こう側 君の姿が見えたような気がして
ペダルを踏む いる筈もなく 風が通り過ぎた
光揺れてる 暖かな日で

真っ白い壁をくりぬいた 窓から西日が差して
ダンボールいっぱいの部屋を オレンジ色に染めてゆく

覚悟とか孤独とか少しの希望とか
詰め込んだ箱にもたれかけ
雀が鳴く声も知らずに テレビの光と僕の影

見慣れないこの道を走って行く
自転車も靴紐も街色になるまで
坂道の途中 僕を呼ぶ君の声聞こえたような気がして
振り向いてみる いる筈もなく 風が通り過ぎた
薄紫の風が通り過ぎた

全てのモノは変わりゆくモノなんだろう
この街も この夢も 君がいた時も
振り返る事が出来るのは
その場所を通り過ぎたから 歩き出しているから

麗しき春風が街を通りぬけ
線路沿い揺れている葉桜並木
そして僕は 今日もまた振り向きながら
長い坂の途中で君を思い出す なす術もなく 家路を歩く
夕暮れ色の風が通り過ぎた

From okuhanako.net

Translation

I will probably fix this translation in the future since I can’t make any sense of it, but for now, the translation almost verbatim from the video. If you would like to fix it yourself, please send me a copy

Leaving Spring breeze behind my white bicycle
I landed on a town first time with my sky blue shirt fluttering
“why you’ll leave me behind?” you said crying then, and cling to me,
Cherry petals are now fluttering and falling in the air, like us on that day

Pink air waving around cherry blossoms along a rail side
Rusty signboards are set up along a shopping street
The your figure seemed to be on the other side of a railroad crossing, so I pedaled my bicycle
but you were not there, of course, breeze passing by me
sunlight waving, on a warm Spring day

Through the window amid the white wall, the afternoon sun was shining
colouring my room orange, which filled with carton boxes

The cartons were filled with some resolutions, some solitude, and a bit of ambition. I was leaning back on them.
not aware of sparrows chirping, there was the light of the TV and my shadow.

I’m cycling through the streets not yet familiar,
until my cycle and shoelaces get accustomed to the town’s colour
I seemed to hear your voice calling me on a slope way, so looking back over
but you were not there of course, breeze passing by me
Light-violet breeze passing by me

Everything is ever-changing, maybe also this town, also this dream, also those days with you
But it is possible for me to look back over those days,
because I’ve already passed over that place, now I’m waking here

Graceful Spring breeze passing by the town
Fresh green leaves of cherry trees waving along the rail side
I still call you to my mind today, looking back over again on the long slope way
but now way to do now walking home
Evening twilight breeze passing by me

Translation by mokade3 with some fixes by tPenguinLTG

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12 thoughts on “Harukaze / 春風

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  5. (More serious note) Would you be able to share an example of one of those lyrical passages that you found meaningful? I value your perspective : )

    • Let’s just look at the above lyrics. This is not one of the deeply impressing ones, but I still liked some quite lyrical passages, for example the creative use of colors in unexpected combinations:
      …. Pink air waving around cherry blossoms ….
      …. until my cycle and shoelaces get accustomed to the town’s color ….
      …. Light-violet breeze passing ….

      Sometimes also surprising things happen:
      … The cartons were filled with some resolutions, some solitude, and a bit of ambition …

      I believe this type of lyrics can be found regularly in Hanako’s songs. In addition some lyrics appear to be very personal and thus can affect the listener directly.

      • My example will be about another song actually: Koi Tsubomi, but it is an example of an Oku lyric that affects me deeply.

        I will refer to the fan-subbed “short version” that is posted on YouTube. Everyone has seen that delightful little Christmas card. As I listen, I’m already choking up a little. There are some great lines. Then there is this line:

        Kimi wo omoishi hakanuki yume yagate saku koi tsubomi
        “Thinking of you, my fleeting dreams will finally bloom, a bud of love”

        I know that it is a fan sub translation. It may not even be the most accurate translation or grammatically correct one between the two languages. No matter.

        THE HEART UNDERSTANDS.

        When she says “Thinking of you my fleeting dreams will finally bloom” — it is all over for me. I start crying. From now on, whenever I say those words out loud, I still choke up. It is one of the Hanako Oku moments, that really, really, gets to me. You do not have to agree about this line, but perhaps you have found similar moments.

  6. This is a very interesting topic. Looking through my collection of her songs in iTunes and sorting them by “star” ratings – I also found that most of my “5*” rating are in the first indie album and this one.

    I already mentioned in my very first post to this blog, that I believe that the fascination of Hanako Oku consists of a combination of her childlike, yet sophisticated songs and her voice / presentation. Today I must add, that her lyrics are another important factor, after I finally found some translations in the web. Some of them have really affected me very deeply inside.

    Why has she changed over time? Well, this could be coming of age, personal experience or pressure from her record company. But for me it is clear (especially after receiving her latest album), that there is a clear tendency to become more mainstream and thus commercially successful. I do not agree to this change, but it is most likely unavoidable. There is still a little bit left of the original Hanako, but it is more and more disappearing. I always come back to her early work and enjoy it like very few other artists. Since I heard her for the first time, she always had a very special place in my heart!

      • Unfortunately not. I found a few here and some others in the web. Really not so easy …

      • As your doctoral advisor, I’m assigning you this topic as your dissertation. You may have to contact Pony Canyon to arrange interviews with The Little Great One. I need the proposal and the literature review by the end of the summer term. : )

      • I have to agree with Andreas: unfortunately, I have not found translations for all of her songs yet, otherwise there would be fewer songs tagged with “translation needed“. The closest thing to a hub of translations is Ichigo no Kokoro, but it’s in Spanish.
        One of the aims of this site is to be a hub of all Oku Hanako information in English, including translations. Coupled with the Generasia wiki, you should be able to get a fair bit of information. Unfortunately, it’ll take a couple of years before this site will have many translations, but it’s a start.
        Just keep at it, guys, and if you find any that I miss, please send them to me.

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